Monday, April 30, 2012

And, I Was Right....

It did rain - pouring, pounding, can't-sleep-at-night-because-of -the-noise rain all yesterday.  So much for the garden (outside).  I did weed and do some maintenance in the greenhouse - mostly have tomatoes and jalapenos right now, and a whole lot of papaya seedlings.  (I need to get those in the ground).  My green onions are starting to shoot up inside - I think the rain has them cowed outside, even though I planted them at the same time. 

It was just as well, because I was pretty tuckered out from the Maui trip on Friday and the workshops on Saturday.  I made one quinoa, lentil and cruciferous vegetable salad and that was the extent of my home-making for the weekend. 

I did rescue a screaming lamb from the horse stall.  Mom was outside, both babies were inside, and they couldn't seem to get it together - so I chased the babies out and although they didn't want to cross the sea of mud, they skedaddled when mom came close. 

The reading at church was about the Good Shepherd - as usual, I reflected on how Jesus probably knew more about sheep (and how loud and pushy and needy they are) than most people do nowadays.  I had half a mind to invite the priest home to check out the sheep, just so he'd have a more informed perspective on sheep when he did his homily. 

Now that I am back at work, it is quite sunny - except for the brief instance when I went out to my car to get something - it sprinkled right then. I am beginning to take this personally.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Sun Was Shining....And I was Inside

But I was inside attending (interesting) workshops.  I was tired to the point of moroseness in spite of the extra coffee and the fact that I LOVE digital storytelling.  I worked with two other teachers on the story of "Aloha the Mongoose" who goes to the mainland for college - we were going to get into how he gets mistaken for chipmunk, but since he takes where he's from with him where he goes, he is still a mongoose, but it was beyond our time limit.  The assignment was to make a story out of random objects picked out of a sack.  We picked an odd collection of objects - an Alvin the Chipmunk figure, some kind of 3-d puzzle game, and a Phillies cap - so Aloha the Mongoose gets to go to Phillies University for small furry animals.  I felt like the other two teachers were in high speed, while I wallowed through molasses.  I gave a few ideas and then let them run out and take pictures of kalo and stuff. 

It was fun, though.  And they bought Bento for lunch (yum, even though I didn't eat the rice).  My Maui meeting was really good - and I resisted the Krispie Kreme doughnuts even when we stopped to buy.  (I was proud of myself).

My "hat" this week, and into the weekend, was the teacher hat - and it was firmly in place.  I hope that I can put on my garden and horse hat, for at least tomorrow.  There are only four more weeks until the end of the school year - four more weeks until my son graduates.  The kids are getting spring-y with the excitement of it all, and the teachers are getting mildly snarky (me included) - it's definitely the long slide into Final Exams. 

Although the adult interactions (meetings, workshops) were the most interesting this week, the funniest moment was a kid-moment.  I have a dramatic young lady in one of my classes.  She came into class with the most comical look of accusation on her face.  "You," she said, "I know it was YOU who wrote that test for Mrs. V.  It was, wasn't it?"  I admitted that it was indeed me that wrote the test.  She said,  "Everyone was groaning at it - but I just know your tests."  She looked thoughtful, "It wasn't that bad - because I know how you think now! But everyone else was having a hard time."  It gave me a little chuckle that they could tell it was me - it shows me that they are thinking about their reading - even if the reading is a test. 

But as far as my "farmer hat":  it would be just my luck if the skies cloud over tomorrow.  I came home in the afternoon today and my 12 year old said, "It was sunny!  We could have ridden!  You weren't here!"  - you know how, occasionally, 12 years talk in exclamation points?  I yawned at her, "Yup,  it was sunny and I wasn't here - you should have come to my workshops and made movies with me."  (She likes doing that kind of stuff - I have taken her before.)   Then, I went upstairs and took a nap. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My desk in MESSY!

I have been going, going, going all day.  I feel like I just looked up and the day is over - and my desk is insanely messy. 

What did I do today?  I wrote a test for a teacher who is sick.  I picked up my new computer - our school is switching platforms, so I transferred all my files and tried to figure out how Lion is different than the Snow Lion I used in my last school and tried to retrain my fingers to Mac.  I taught a class, which is always fun,  and somewhere in here I messed up my desk.  I turned back a lot of papers today, too, so I just don't get it.  It looks like the papers have procreated.  

I need to do a little straightening up out in the tack/feed room.  It's somewhat organized, but I do need to sweep and do a Spring cleaning of old supplements, medicines, etc.  It's hard to get energized to do it when everything is mucky and muddy.  Wednesday's a long day at work, so it won't be happening today. 

In fact, it won't be happening all this weekend.  On Friday, I am flying to Maui for a meeting.  That sounds more fun than it is.  I think the meeting will be really interesting, but flying to Maui isn't always an easy proposition - even though you can see Maui from the other side of this island on clear days.  Because of the asinine flight schedule, you have to fly out of Hilo (over Maui) all the way to Honolulu and then back to Maui.  And then, to get home, you need to fly back to Honolulu, turn around, fly over Maui again, and fly to Hilo.  Feel free to pull up a map of Hawaii to see what I am talking about.  No matter how really interesting the meeting is going to be, the flights are going to be tiring. 

Then, on Saturday, we have an extra day of work to learn about using our computers for more than just word processing.  Our portfolios are due next week, too.  I have a folder (well, really as desk) full of "evidence" but I have to pull it together.  This is my first year at this school, and like so many other things, I don't know the real low-down on stuff - there are directions, but then there are real conventions.  For my last school, people would put together up to 4 thick binders of stuff for their portfolios.  I kept mine down to two binders, but here I get the impression that maybe people for the minimalist approach and bringing more would be a faux pas.  I have asked a few old pros, administration, and friends and have gotten no clear answers. Sigh.  There seem to be 3 different versions of portfolios out there.  I have enough crud for all three versions - I should just make them and see which one to pull out of my bag on presentation day.  Here you go - overachiever Nancy is ready to go! 

Okay, this was almost not at all about my agricultural pursuits.  My head is full of tests and online learning objects and, "Oh, yay - I missed swiping, but darn, I liked the right click on the Dell" of the platform switch. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And the rain blew back in....

I am sure we are due some kind of amazing summer.  It's been inordinately cold and even rainier than usual for months and months.  Another teacher lent me a fan in August - I have been shivering in my office since October.  I do have to admit, I shiver when it is 70 degrees, but still....

The one really good sunny day we did have (Sunday), I took Gibby out and attempted to teach him to lunge.  If I could get him lunging well, then I could give my daughter real riding lessons.  It's hard to have an inexperienced rider on a willful horse in an unfenced arena.  Gibby has a real problem with facing me rather than walking on around on the lunge line.  I have gotten him to the point where he can go around on a longish lead rope, but the prospect of being more than five feet away seems to baffle him.  He also has a bad habit of turning his body so that his head is facing you.  I think it might be that he can't see well out of one eye.  It looks like he was hit badly enough to break bones on the right side of his head.  They eye is a bit distorted and when he runs in pasture, he has a nervous habit of jerking his head to that side - I am assuming it is because he wants to see out of his good eye.  So I get why he is turning toward me to see, but it isn't what I want. 

I have had limited success in the past with the lesson, but I have started to point to various places in the stall and find that has been enough to move him those directions, which gave me hope that he was ready to learn a bit.  After making a huge fuss over Ohia (who likes to put his whole big heavy head over my shoulder and lean) and generally making Gibby curious enough to come and put his nose on my back, I put the halter on him and took him out to the arena.  He responds much better to a rope halter than a web halter, so I tried hooking the lunge on that rather than putting on the snaffle and headpiece.  He did much better - at least on the side he can see well.  I actually got him to lunge in a 5 meter circle a few times at the trot.  When I asked him to move out further, he got nervous - and lunging to the blind side was a disaster.  I guess we're still working on trust.  I got him to do the successful side one more time and called it pau. 

I felt most successful that he didn't try to run out on me - like he usually does when he is scared.  He looked interested and like he was really trying. 

Now, if it would only stop raining.  I hate lunging in the rain.  If it doesn't stop, I will have to do it anyway - I want to give my daughter proper lessons twice a week this summer.  Her legs are finally long enough to be effective and she is the only kid showing interest out of the four.  The next one up was interested as a kid, but had grown out of it.  I also think it will be good for Gibby to have his mind occupied on work rather than on how scary new things are.  It's taken him 14 months to get this far - to trust even this much. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Breezy Tradewinds

It's pretty gusty out there.  Normal tradewinds (which are light up here) bring heavy sodden rain, but these breezy ones seem to have enough oomph to send the clouds over the bump of Kilauea and give us a scattered showers and sun intermixed.  It's a bit chilly, though.  You'd think I would take advantage of the not-pouring weather to be outside, but I am feeling a bit worn out from this week's work, so I am cooking instead. 

My basement is semi-full of teen-aged boys who are working on a game programming dare.  Twice a year, there is a just-for-fun challenge to write a video game, based on a theme.  Apparently, the point is to stay up for something approaching 48 hours to do this thing - and apparently, this is the point - to stay up all night and see what you can produce.  I have to say, their game looks pretty good this year.  They come up for food, thank me nicely for dinner, then sink to the depths of the house. 

My youngest came home from her two day trip to Kona for a band festival.  She wants to ride, but she is also complaining of a sore throat so bad she would rather drool than swallow.  I am sure a room full of 12-13 year old girls didn't go to bed when they were told to, on top of the several terrible bugs floating around school, so I told her to take a nap and talk to me later about getting on that horse. 

I went to town yesterday to take advantage of the Divine Mercy opportunity - and after visiting the church, I went to the Hilo Farmer's Market.  I keep meaning to go to the Kino'ole Market instead, but I never think of it until I am passing it on the way home and they are closing.  I bought some kabocha, cauliflower, Okinawa sweet potato, broccoli, green onion, sweet onion, several bags of green beans and a couple of bags of cucumber, and a huge head of lettuce.  Until my own veggies are up and ready for harvest, I am glad for the Farmer's Markets.  I am getting plenty of tomatoes (well, for salad; I would like more to make sauce) from the greenhouse, but everything else needs to be purchased for now. 

I am pressure cooking some pinto beans for the freezer.  I like homemade refried beans so much better than the canned, now. I made split pea soup yesterday - I added a few slices of ginger root, a quarter of a kabocha pumpkin, cubed, and lots of onion and garlic.  It didn't even need the Portuguese Sausage to taste good.  I used a regular slow cooker for that.  I am still mildly scared of my pressure cooker, but the prospect of cooked beans is worth the slight raise in my pulse rate. 

8 days until my son has to decide which college to go to.  4 weeks and 6 days until he graduates.  In a few months, there will be only two children in my house - what a weird feeling it will be. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting for Seedlings

It always feels a little bit foolish to put seeds directly into the ground.  Even though I know it takes a week or two for the little seedlings to germinate, along day five I start scrutinizing the ground to see if anything is coming up.  On my home from work, there is a house with a garden. Their rows are always so straight, their ground so level - and they seem to put in seedlings rather than direct seeding.  I admire that garden. 

My garden, however, is on a slight incline.  My rows are not neat and straight, because I do everything by hand (digging rather than tilling, etc) and I direct seed, so I have only a vague idea whether I got the seeds in a straight line.  I am kind of a toss it in and hope it grows kind of gardener - at least in the outside garden.  The containers in the greenhouse kind of keep me a bit more organized in the "inside" garden.

All gardening is an act of faith.  I guess that is why so many of the parables in the Bible are agricultural in nature.  You have to have faith (or, I do, living in a rainforest) that there will be enough sun, enough, but not too much rain, that the chickens won't eat the seeds, that the all the conditions are right for seeds to germinate, to grow, and to produce.  I will be finishing my Spring act of faith this weekend when I dig up the second half of the garden and plant more cabbage, roots, and leaves. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gardening Plans

Two of my kids are off to the Merrie Monarch Parade - marching for their respective school groups.  Fortunately, one of them drives - isn't that curmudgeonly of me?  I have never been fond of parades and the whole Merrie Monarch thing kind of passes me by every year.  I tried to go to the free night one year, waited in line for a couple of hours, realized I wasn't going to get in and gave up.  I do watch some of the footage on tv - especially the year my student and my niece were in the halau together.  It's really very bad of me - Merrie Monarch is a huge deal in Hilo. I just don't like crowds, and I never think to buy tickets for the Kahiko night (traditional form of hula - my favorite) enough time ahead.  I think I would have to basically buy them now for next year.  

I saw on Facebook that my nephew ordered sheep netting from Premier Dairy.  Apparently, he typed in the "Special Instructions" box that he would like them to enclose a picture of a chicken in a cowboy hat, riding a sheep and lassoing another chicken.  I was impressed to see that they, in fact, enclosed a charming picture of said chickens and sheep with the package.  Now, that is customer service and a hoot besides. 


We actually neglected our māla out back, so we were thinking about putting sheep netting around the taro and letting the sheep weed for us.  They don't eat the taro because of the oxalic acid crystals in the leaves and corm, but they will eat the grass all around it.  I was bitterly opposed to putting the māla in the back pasture, but apparently, I was wrong.  It is so far from the house, and with Elvis back there, not pleasant to walk out to - but if the sheep will weed it for us without eating the crop, then I am all for it - one back breaking day to plant it and one back breaking day a year later to pull it out.  I love taro in almost all forms, but it is really a LOT of work to both plant and harvest. 

Today, I am going to put in some cucumbers, lettuce, beets, turnips, the few seed potatoes I saved from last year, pumpkin, and various greens and herbs.  We'll see if they get washed away - hopefully, we over the over-the-top rainfalls we've been having and are now going to have just our regular loads of rain.